US-based fast food restaurant chain Whataburger has agreed to sell a majority stake in the company to the affiliated funds of merchant bank BDT Capital Partners.
As part of the deal, both companies will start exploring expansion opportunities for the fast food chain.
Following the completion of the transaction, BDT Capital will operate the Whataburger brand from its headquarters in San Antonio and will partner with its leadership team to expand the brand.
In addition, Whataburger president and CEO Preston Atkinson and board chairman Tom Dobson will retain their position on the company’s board of directors and retire from the day-to-day operations of the company.
Whataburger CEO and president Preston Atkinson said: “Whataburger has grown significantly over the years. And in order to keep satisfying our customers, we’ve been exploring different options to expand the brand and introduce it to new audiences.
“We’ve gone through this process purposefully and diligently because we wanted to find a partner who honours our value, culture and 69-year legacy of family tradition.”
Whataburger founders The Dobson Family will hold a minority ownership position in the company.
Morgan Stanley and Ernst & Young (EY) served as transaction advisors and Jackson Walker as legal advisor to Whataburger. BDT Capital Partners received legal advice from Norton Rose Fulbright.
The transaction, which will obtain financing support from Morgan Stanley Senior Funding, is subject to customary regulatory and other conditions. It is expected to close later this summer.
Furthermore, the restaurant chain also announced various new internal promotions including a president, chief operating officer and chief restaurant operating officer to position the brand for long-term growth and success. These roles will be effective from 1 July.
Whataburger chief financial officer and controller Ed Nelson will be promoted to the role of president; the company’s business operations vice-president Leonard Mazzocco to the role of senior vice-president and chief operating officer.
The company’s restaurants senior vice-president Rob Rodriguez will assume the role of senior vice-president and chief restaurant operating officer.
Whataburger real estate segment senior vice-president James Turcotte will continue in his role and will be promoted as chief development officer.